As the National Geographic Sea Bird was on approach to Astoria, Oregon, and the sun slowly rose in the east, it was obvious that we were in for another perfect day on the mighty Columbia River! There was hardly a cloud in the sky, and not a chance for rain, unusual conditions for this part of the Pacific coast, but we had been very blessed on this voyage with good weather, why stop now!
So right after breakfast everyone prepared for the morning’s activities, a trip to Fort Clatsop, just west of Astoria, the place where the Lewis & Clark Expedition had wintered over in 1805, before returning upriver on their return trip. This is a National Historic Park with a nice interpretive center and a beautiful reconstruction of the original fort. This was a perfect place to end our travels along their route down the Columbia.
So, after hearing more about how they managed to survive the cold and damp conditions for four months, we headed back toward town and visited the Astoria Column, a beautiful tower high above the city, with spectacular views in almost every direction. Some of the more adventuresome in the group climbed to the top of the tower, over a 150 stairs!
Soon it was time to head to the ship and visit the Columbia Maritime Museum, which just happened to be right where the National Geographic Sea Bird was docked. This is a wonderful place to learn about the history of this part of the river, especially the danger the Columbia River Bar and brave pilots who risk their lives to help ocean-going ships make it safely into the river. There have been hundreds of shipwrecks, and many lives lost on this dangerous passage!
Soon it was lunchtime, followed by our afternoon excursions, a bus trip to Cape Disappointment with even more history of the Corps of Discovery, an expedition landing craft cruise in the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Refuge, or just enjoying some time to explore the lovely city of Astoria. Another great day, and our last, of a truly remarkable voyage!